A prisoner transport officer accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate two years ago in Pope County while driving her from Alabama to Arizona was charged Thursday in a 2014 attack on another woman in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
A superseding indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Little Rock adds a second civil-rights violation against Eric Scott Kindley of California, who on Sept. 12, 2017, was indicted on charges of depriving a woman of her civil rights and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
A Phoenix-based FBI agent testified last year in Little Rock that Kindley may have sexually assaulted more than 100 women over the previous 15 years while transporting inmates who had been arrested on out-of-state warrants from jails back to the jurisdiction that issued the warrant.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth Deere, finding that Kindley was a threat to the community and a flight risk, ordered him to remain in federal custody until his trial -- scheduled for April 29 -- on accusations that he assaulted a shackled woman on Jan. 28, 2017, on a deserted road outside Russellville.
The charge added Thursday accuses Kindley of forcing a female inmate to perform oral sex on him, thereby depriving her of her liberty without due process, on Feb. 15 and 16 of 2014. The indictment says Kindley was transporting the woman from Texas to Oklahoma, but doesn't say where in the Eastern District of Arkansas the assault occurred.
Kindley was an unregulated transport officer, but by virtue of being hired by jails and prisons, was required to act in compliance with federal, state and local laws, including the U.S. Constitution, the indictment states.
The FBI agent who testified at Kindley's detention hearing a year ago said the California man had operated a private prisoner transport service since 2002. The agent, Kyle Roberts, said that on Jan. 28, 2017, Kindley picked up a 27-year-old woman from a jail in Shelby County, Ala., to transport her to a jail in Apache County, Ariz., but made an unexpected stop on a dark, winding road in Pope County.
There, Kindley let the woman out of the van to urinate, unshackling one of her hands but leaving her legs shackled together, Roberts testified. He said Kindley then threw the woman against the side of the van and reached inside her panties, tearing the fabric, and demanded that she perform oral sex on him.
The woman "felt like she either had to fight or was going to die," and screamed no, Roberts said. He said her screams prompted coyotes in the area to howl, and Kindley then ordered the woman back into the van, but showed her his gun and said, "It only takes one bullet to the head."
The agent said he was later able to verify, through the GPS on Kindley's smartphone, that he was in the isolated area for about 45 minutes before he arrived at the Russellville jail, to which he had called ahead, saying his prisoner needed a bathroom stop. When he arrived, Kindley told jailers he had gotten lost, Roberts said.
Roberts said the woman didn't report Kindley to jailers in Russellville or in Oklahoma, where he later stopped overnight, because Kindley claimed to be a U.S. marshal and suggested he was friends with the law enforcement officers.
When the woman arrived at the jail in Arizona, however, she was housed with a woman Kindley had transported there several days earlier from California, Roberts said. He said the woman had confided to another inmate that Kindley raped her in the desert, and that other inmate, who was from the area and knew jail employees, passed the information on, leading to the FBI being alerted.
During his testimony in Little Rock on Feb. 27, 2018, the FBI agent said he had so far interviewed about 20 women who had been transported by Kindley, and "13 or 14" of them said Kindley had engaged in some sort of sexual misconduct with them, from propositions to actual assaults.
The agent said he also talked to correction officers in jails across the country, whose universal reaction was disbelief that a male driver would transport a woman by himself.
Roberts said Kindley cleverly kept it quiet that he was single-handedly transporting the women, even going so far as to make it appear that a female officer accompanied him in his Dodge Grand Caravan.
"Mr. Kindley's van is made out to where the front passenger's seat actually kind-of depicts the look of a female," the FBI agent testified. "There's a scarf that wraps around the seat, with a hat." He said that from afar, it appears that a woman is sitting in the passenger seat.
Metro on 01/11/2019
Print Headline: Prisoner transporter accused of second sex assault in Arkansas